Part 642 – Arrival

Ambrose’s energy drained away.

He pulled his coat’s hood over his eyes.

That was a no good idea. It accomplished nothing – other than making his head far too warm.

He leaned forward and buried his face in his hands.

Too warm.

Too warm.

She rubbed his back. “Don’t worry, kitten. We’ll be there soon.”

“Too warm. Tired. Tired.”

“I know. Just hold on.” She turned on the air conditioning.

He uncovered his head and unbuttoned his coat.

“Is that better?”

“Mmm.” He unbuckled his seatbelt and pressed his forehead against the vent. “Better.”

***

They came.

One at a time.

Two at a time.

Five, six, ten at a time.

They stood there and laughed at him. They pointed at him. They tried to throw empty beer cans at him. Fortunately, the wall was in the way.

Unfortunately, the wall was in the way.

They came.

They stared.

Ambrose starved.

His skin overheated.

“Look at the vampire.”

“The vampire!”

“The vampire!”

Hildreth and Elsie appeared in his enclosure. “Kill the vampire.”

***

“Hey.”

Barbara.

Barbara’s voice.

“It’s okay.”

Barbara’s hand.

Flowing through my hair.

But the direction’s all wrong.

Ambrose opened his eyes.

Barbara’s coat.

So close.

Too close.

Her scent.

Her arms around me.

“It’s all right.”

“Barbara?”

“Oh, good! You’re awake.” She released him.

“What…”

“You were crying in your sleep.”

“oh.” He rubbed his eyes and, despite her words, was surprised that they were wet.

“Bad dream?”

“Something in between a bad dream and a bad memory. I hate this.”

“What?”

“My day exhaustion. I get so tired and warm and worn out. It will let up for a little bit and then, boom! Here it comes crashing back down again. I wish.” He touched the emerald ring on her thumb. “There was a girl who lived next door to me when I was younger. So much younger. Her name was Anna Whitt and she was three years older than me.”

He smiled. “She had this talent for getting me to join her on her amazing escapades. We’d do things together I’d never have the guts to do alone.” He chuckled. “And I would always be the one who got caught. And she would always play the part of the innocent party and they always believed her. I never held it against her, though.”

“She told me once that if I stayed up all night and watched the sun rise, I would find my own true love. I’ve always wondered if that were true.”

He paused a moment before continuing, “I wish I could do that with you.”

“Why? You still looking for your one true love?” she asked teasingly.

“Brat. No, I don’t have to look for her anymore. She’s here.” He looked at her. “She’s right here.”

She smiled, but Ambrose could have sworn that she glowed. “What happened to Anna?”

“Tuberculosis at twenty-five.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be. I didn’t kill her.” He looked at the building outside the windshield. “I guess we can’t stay in here.”

“It would be nice if we could.”

“I agree.” He squeezed her hand. “Let’s get this over with. I really don’t want him to come looking for us.”

“That wouldn’t be good.”

“He’d probably make the car explode.”

“Very likely.” She gave him a concerned look. “Are you okay? Can you walk?”

“For the moment, yeah. But we have to move quickly. I don’t know when the next wave is going to send me crashing.”

She put her hand on top of his hand. “I’ll catch you.” She smiled mischievously. “Even if you are soooo heavy.”

“Ha! You brat.”

 

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